The Station Inn and Darrell Scott

read about The Station Inn Nashville and Darrell Scott’s new release

 

By Rob Dickens

 

New Darrell Scott Music

Acclaimed singer songwriter Darrell Scott has just revealed he has a new project well in the works.

It’s a live recording and in one of Nashville’s most tradition-laden venues, The Station Inn, which is featured on the front sleeve of the new CD.  Live At The Station Inn was recorded with Scott, Bryn Davies, Matt Flinner and Shad Cobb and it promises to be a must-get as Scott’s offerings are always highly worthy, a man with a proven track record.

Pre-order for Live At The Station Inn will be available on October 13 2017, with an official release date of 17 November 2017.

 

 

Little other information is out yet.  So why don’t I just talk about The Station Inn, one of my favourite places to see music.  For more Darrell Scott information and reviews on this site, you can go HERE, HERE and HERE.

 

The Station Inn – Introduction

There are plenty of great venues In which to check your favourite bands in Music City.  Let’s see, there’s the Mother Church of Country Music – the majestic and historic Ryman Auditorium, or the scale and glamour of the Grand Ole Opry Hall and the tiny and intimate Bluebird Cafe.  There’s the wine and dine while-you-watch experience at places like the City Winery and 3rd & Lindsley, the handy tri-stages at the Cannery Ballroom where you can gleefully spend all night at an Americana Festival showcase.  Not to forget the compelling Music City Roots at The Factory in nearby Franklin. Plenty of others of course, too many too mention and spoil the thread of this article.

The Station Inn has its own standing beyond question. It might not be polished or elegantly fitted, but it is a gem alright.  One of the most important precious stones in the great city.  One of its greatest strengths is its unwavering commitment to its independent musical vision.  It’s about authenticity, preserving original and no-glam bluegrass, country, western swing, old time and folk music, and now the wide vehicle that is now badged Americana.

 

The Station Inn – History

Let’s go back and take a look at the context. (Almost all of this back story is gleaned from my personal experiences and from The Inn’s website).

The Station Inn opened in 1974 by a group of six bluegrass pickers and singers.  It was originally located near Centennial Park and Vanderbilt University.   The owners themselves were the house band, providing entertainment on a regular basis, with drop-ins always welcome.  The atmosphere was informal with local college students who were into bluegrass frequenting the club. The Station Inn became the gathering place for bluegrass performers and fans at a time when bluegrass was gaining in popularity.

The venue changed hands a number of times and moved to its present location at 402 12th Avenue S. in The Gulch in 1978.  In 1981 J.T. Gray (who frequently sat in with the original house band) bought the club.  About a year later, The Bluegrass Cardinals played to a capacity crowd, sparking a trend to hire bigger name outfits and attracting “a variety of acts that people around Nashville couldn’t see and hear unless they went to festivals two or three hundred miles away.”  J.T. began booking well-known and local bands every night, with his band The Nashville Skyline filling in the gaps when necessary. He also offered an open jam session on Sunday nights.

During the early years under Gray’s direction, the Station Inn was home to many acts who are now bluegrass household names.  The big names started dropping in unannounced, frequently often after performing at the Grand Ole Opry.  The ‘father of bluegrass music’ Bill Monroe playing to a packed house in 1985.   While the performers got bigger, there was always room for emerging talent and mixing the seasoned and up-and-comers became a powerful attraction for both performer and patron alike.

In 2003, J.T. Gray received the Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association for his contribution to the furtherance of bluegrass music.  J.T. Gray is credited with doing more than any one person in Nashville to preserve the legacy of bluegrass left by Bill Monroe and others.

 

The Station Inn – The Rich Performance History

Just about everybody has played there from the bluegrass, old time and country worlds.  Jimmy Martin, Bobby Osborne, Monroe, Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley, Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Jerry Douglas, Bonnie Raitt, Norah Jones, Robert Plant and Alan Jackson.

Here’s a (pretty) complete inventory of my own show experiences since my first visit in 2009 (in no particular order) – Jim Lauderdale, Chatham County Line, Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson, Val Storey, John Prine, Ashley Campbell, Caleb Klauder Band, The Howlin’ Brothers, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Linda McCrae, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, The Stray Birds, Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones, Breena Lee & Nora McCrae, and Aiofe O’Donovan.

Step into the doors and check out the wall posters, you’ll get a great picture yourselves.

 

The Station Inn v Development

You get a sense of it in Darrell Scott’s album cover above.  Since my time the venue’s status in The Gulch has changed enormously, so much so it is a little hard to believe it has survived intact.  The single-story, humble white brick venue (with its intimate capacity of around 140) is now dwarfed by skyward-reaching monoliths seemingly from every direction.  The surrounds have changed from quasi-deserted to trendy hipster village.  Where once you were a little hesitant to park your car thinking it might sustain some damage, you now have to hunt for a bay and pay a considerable amount for the privilege.

Word is that there have been big offers made for the Inn and its small adjacent area given the current high, and ever-rising, value of the land in The Gulch.

If that is the case, thankfully J T Gray is holding firm against the odds and continuing his vision of preserving a time capsule of the best in traditional music.

I salute him for that and we music lovers are all the better for it.

 

read about The Station Inn Nashville and Darrell Scott’s new release

 

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Author: Rob Dickens

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